Endeavour: Game. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Cast: Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Sean Rigby, Dakota Blue Richards, James Bradshaw, Anton Lesser, Caroline O’Neil, Daniel Attwell, Nicon Caraman, Geff Francis, Chris Fulton, Natalie Grady, Dawn Hope, Ty Hurley, Eleanor Inglis, Adam James, Katherine Kingsley, James Laurenson, Robert Lucklay, Abram Rooney, Gillian Saker, Tristan Sturrock, Abigail Thaw, Ruby Thomas, Sara Vickers, Tony Paul West.

Most murderers are reactionary, in the heat of an argument, the row turned upside down or even the act of the clumsy, the separate and the opportunist, driven by greed, motivated perhaps by drugs, desire or just plain old fashioned anger, the guilt of the assailant can surely be down to reactions. Some though are caused by the obsessed, the one moment to take one person’s life because they can, because it feels to them right and justice for a grievance or presumed slight caused. It is when the murderer plans it out in so much detail, so many steps ahead of the detective, this is when it becomes a game and it is when the worst kind of killer stalks the narrative.

Like the computer Deep Blue that took on the world at Chess, to prove that humanity is capable of losing to something it designed, the murders in the episode of Endeavour, Game, are to be looked upon as a sport for the killer, the clues left in plain sight are cruel, almost devout to the killer’s mantra that all must pay for the sins against the murderer.

Game though is much more about the deeds of one man, it takes into the story the aftermath of Joan Thursday’s disappearance from her parents lives and the young Morse’s continual battle against the forces of the masons, something that would haunt him all his life. Game offers that glimpse into Morse’s future, one enshrined in the great John Thaw’s performances but one carried on with tremendous and upright television pleasure by Shaun Evans.

The episode also sees the superb Roger Allam at his very best, cool, devastatingly untainted by decisions going on around him but also boiling with rage underneath, his despair at his daughter leaving the family home, his exasperation with Morse’s bad fortune but also pride in his ability leaves Mr. Allam as a huge presence in the show and one that works so well with Shaun Evans in the title role.

A true piece of detective work, one that would see Game surely as a pivotal piece of the television jigsaw of high quality drama; an opening episode on such a high is to be congratulated.

Ian D. Hall